Running in the street

As an avid runner, one of the things I often think about is when I see other runners in the street when there is a sidewalk next to the road.  Granted, everyone has a personal preference and may feel better in the street for various reasons; however, I would offer two contrarian reasons to consider switching to the sidewalk.  First, the sidewalk is further from the cars; therefore, it’s just safer in most respects.  Second, running in the street may be placing extra stress on your body.  This is because most streets have a slope as the street stretches to the curb, while most sidewalks are relatively flat.  Running on an angled surface puts the body in an awkward position for an already jarring form of exercise.  If you’re still not convinced, please drop me a comment explaining why, just to satisfy my curiosity. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Running in the street

  1. Interesting site…I’ll have to check that out. 🙂

    I do like the irony of adding headphones to the runner in the street. Not only are they running next to 1-2 ton piles of moving metal, they are doing it without the abilty to hear the car coming. On the flip side, it must make for some adventurous situations from time to time.

  2. When I was running I ran mostly in the street, going to the sidewalk periodically. Traffic wasn’t much of a concern as I ran in a very low traffic residential area. The slope near the curb could be a concern and one I hadn’t really considered. My main reason for running in the street had to do with the idea that asphalt is somewhat softer. As this article exposes, more research is certainly needed on the matter, but my own anecdotal knee related evidence suggested to me that asphalt was a better choice for me.

  3. Thanks for the link!! That was an awesome amount of information. The benefits over running on asphault versus cement do not seem concrete at this time. (pun intended) I especially like the one article that says the sidewalk AND the edge of an asphault street are the two worst places to run for injuries. Apparently, it’s hard to win in this debate.

    I will admit that I have almost been run over after falling on the loose gravel that is often on the side of the road, which is another reason I’m sticking to the sidewalk.

  4. Hey, Mike! I really couldn’t resist chiming in on this thread. All of your opinions, and those of the people who cmmented to you are valid and very important considerations on running, but I have a better solution:

    RUN on Dirt/ naturalTRAILS! You have several in the Austin area and they are much easier on your joints, respiratory health, etc.! The trees that usually surround the trails give off oxygen, and there is a much greater sense of being “back to nature”. Of course, you won’t run as fast, but you will enjoy the experience much more. The roots and uneven surface of a trail is something of a learned experience, but because it is changing slightly with every footfall, you have a huge decrease in “repetitive stress” symptoms and you will eventually strengthen your ankles and joints from the exercise.

    I am probably the ultimate poster-child for trail running, since I was unable to run on pavement of any kind just four years ago, but now, I can run even marathon lengths on pavement from time to time without suffering from anything more that simple muscle soreness. I admit, I son’ run as fast as do you, but then never DID, and I am much older than you, anyway!
    I have been injured much worse on sidewalks than anywhere else! This isn’t an indictment of sidewalks so much as an indication of my clumsiness and boredom when I run on surfaces where the scenery never changes!

    Just my two cents; And probably worth every penny! Gotta Run!

    Stevie Wonder

    PS. Good to finally find your NEW BLOG! See ya in the funny papers!

  5. Steve,

    Thanks for the compliments. Strangely enough, you are the second person to recommend trail running to me. In the past, I always thought the unusual surfaces increased my chance of injury, but based on the recent recommendations, I plan to experiment by taking one day a week to run on the trails.

  6. I cannot speak from experience but I have read, and heard from a number of different sources, that running on the street versus running on the sidewalk offers an obvious difference in surfaces. Apparently, according to the ‘surface afficionados’ out there, running on the sidewalk is less preferable because of the concrete base material being alot harder and therefore less forgiving. Road surfaces, primarily an asphalt/tar ingredient, are softer and reduce the risk of certain types of injuries.
    Personally speaking, the last time I fell on either surface, the same experience was observed, they’re both bloody hard and there seems to be absolutely ‘zero give’!

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